Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mixtapes of Yore #4

This week's Mixtape of Yore was selected over the weekend by my best friend from high school who remembers the songs that showed up on multiple mixtapes almost as well as I do. She picked from the gigantic case and selected "Hmmm..." from January 6th, 2003. It is one of those I was happy to post at first seeing Wilco and Belle & Sebastian on the mix because I thought I would finally be able to prove I listened to cool music in high school...but then there are some head scratchers in there.

1. Ben Harper - Sexual Healing (Marvin Gay Cover) 
2. Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi
3. Fleetwood Mac - Days Go By
4. Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
5. Ben Harper - Strawberry Fields (Beatles Cover)
6. Rolling Stones - Beast of Burden 
7. Bruce Springsteen - I"m on Fire
9. Jewel - Have a Little Faith in Me (John Haitt Cover)
10. Queens of the Stone Age - No One Knows
11. Lifehouse - Carousel 
12. Majandra Delfino - Honest 
13. Maljandra Delfino- Siren
14. Mazzy Star - Before I Sleep
15. Ben Harper - Roses
16. Majandra Delfino - Tatu
17. O.A.R. - Ran Away to the Top of the World Today
18. Wilco - I'm Trying to Break Your Heart
19. Melissa Ferrick - I Will Arrive

So you might be wondering who Majandra Delfino is. I had a hard time looking up these songs trying to figure out who sung them. Turns out she was the actress on that show Roswell and then segued into music...really bad music with lyrics like "I will bash your face in / I will take you up the.." I'm not going to finish that. Hmmm indeed! She also has a bunch of topless photos that show up just by googling her name. And guess what? She's working on an album that's due out this year. I assume she's the reason this mix got titled "hmmm".

I really didn't want to make this about a bad actress, but I was hoping to draw your attention to the Dar Williams song from her 1997 album End of Summer. I love this song. The lyrics have always stood out for me. In high school I remember identifying with being comforted by the voices on the radio. I also liked the lines about drinking in parking lots and the line "you were more familiar than that party was / it was the first time I stayed up all night" because at that time I loved songs about drinking and parties since I had little first hand experience of those things. But it also reminds me of all the firsts people expect you to experience in high school: first boyfriends, first drinks, first time driving...doing it all to fit in and all the while really just hoping there was someone out there that understood you. That's what it meant to me then, and it meant a lot since I can remember playing this song all the time.

I came back to this song a few years ago when Amy Macdonald ripped this song off with "This is the Life". It sounds just like Dar Williams and follows a similar theme. Maybe she didn't rip it off per se, but I remember hearing it for the first time and thinking about Dar Williams and this song. 

Now the lines that stand out the most is the commentary on the state of the radio, which is really what the whole song is about: 
And what's the future, who will choose it?
Politics of Love and Music
Underdogs who turn the tables
Indie versus major labels
There's so much to see through 
Like our parents do more drugs than we do.
It's a timeless song and one that I feel has been forgotten or ignored because she is often grouped in with the Lilith Fair group of women folk musicians. But it's still relevant today. Just like the Wilco, Belle & Sebastian, Fleetwood Mac, and Bruce Springsteen songs that appear on this mix, my appreciation of these songs hasn't diminished and my understanding of them has evolved. Music is pretty cool like that. Watch the video of the song where she introduces it by saying some variation of what I basically just wrote an essay about. 


  1. This is the greatest idea for a feature ever. I love nostalgic music trips and there's always something special about old mixtapes. I don't know what it is that causes the connection, but it's awesome.

  2. fantastic post. love that dar song. 14 of these songs sound like my radio station.

  3. A friend from Philly recently told me I would like WXPN, makes sense. Glad you guys liked it, I'll try and keep this a regular thing.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...